ATLANTIKUMI – Jessie Kleemann, Jeannette Ehlers, Pia Arke
Exhibition September 24th 2022 – January 29th 2023
The exhibition Atlantikumi shows three strong contemporary artists, whose works and lives in different ways, connect and meet each other through the Atlantic Ocean.
Atlantikumi is Greenlandic and means In the Atlantic Ocean. In the exhibition artworks are shown by Jessie Kleemann, Jeanette Ehlers, and Pia Arke, three artists who in each their way have dealt with the colonial history on a personal and corporeally level. In their work, the private history and the colonial history, are inextricably bound together: There are threads pulled from Greenland to Denmark, and from Denmark to the Caribbean, across the Atlantic Ocean.
For each of the artists, the ocean as motive plays an important role. The ocean connects and divides. It is by ocean that one travels and returns home, voluntarily or involuntarily.
Jessie Kleemann (1959) has a background in the Tuukkaq Theatre and in her performances, video works, and poetry, it is to a large extent the body and the corporeal experiences that speak. The arctic pain is a theme in her work, and her art works contains equal parts vulnerability, power, and humor. The language is an important material in her praxis. She effortlessly alternates between Greenlandic, Danish, and English in her poetry. In several of Kleemann’s art works, the ocean plays a defining role, as in the Greenlandic mythology.
Jeanette Ehlers (1973) has made the global west’s repression of the colonial times and the racist structures the colonial times brought along to her most important motive. With roots in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and in Denmark, she has activated the discomfort and the points of pain through history and now. Through performances, video works, and installations, where her own body often plays an important role.
Pia Arke (1958-2007) processed her feelings of being a “bastard”; a result of a meeting between two cultures in her work. In her art, she explored the connection between Greenland and Denmark, both through her own biography and through larger historical lines. She used the camera, and she investigated private photos that the Greenlandic population was staged in. Additionally, she used her own body in her artworks. In a lot of her art works, the ocean plays a role as a horizon and a marking of the connection of the places.
The exhibition Atlantikumi has now travelled – over the Atlantic Ocean – from Nuuk Art Museum to the North Atlantic House.